Jasen Campbell has a handful of basketball titles, but those triumphs only fuel his hunger for more glory.
The George Town native has his Esso Blazers one win away from a repeat national championship. Esso battle the Dominos Warriors, the same team they swept in the 2012 finals, in Game Two of the 2013 Division One finals of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association National Men’s League. Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre hosts the action on Sunday, 9 June, at 7.30pm.
Campbell, 27, was part of last year’s squad and already has some five titles to his name. Yet, he said he is not satisfied.
“My goal is to win as many trophies as I can in Cayman as a player,” Campbell said. “I want to add to my legacy, put up the three fingers. We, as a team, are ready for this series. We want to win another one for ourselves as players and for Shawn Pitterson, the head coach, who deserves it after being in the league a long time.”
Years ago, Campbell played with George Town Sports Club where he claimed three straight championships. From there, he spent two seasons with Dominos, being part of their 2011 title run. Interestingly, his Blazers would sweep George Town in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs.
Campbell would guide his team to victory over Dominos, 102-96, in overtime, in Game One of the finals. He posted 37 points with four 3-pointers and six assists. Davion Cotterell added 22 points with three treys and six rebounds. Shaad O’Garro contributed 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The Warriors had Borislav “Boka” Djordjic scoring 30 points with three long bombs and 15 rebounds, Jerome Narcisse netting 17 points and four rebounds, Lloyd Samuels registering 16 points and four steals and Collin Anglin chipping in 14 points and four assists.
Campbell, whose Blazers lost a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter last Sunday, said those players can sizzle once again.
“Collin can make a big difference as an all-arounder who’s great around the rim. Jerome is strong and can go inside and out, Boka will be a real key player because you can’t leave him open and Vanrick Felix, their point guard, knows how to find players.”
The Warriors are in the finals after dismissing the Silver Bullets with a first round sweep. Anglin, Djordjic, Felix and Narcisse all played well in that series. Felix, 28, said it will take a team effort to win Game Two.
“Dominos are a veteran group that has won before and Esso have been in this position before,” Felix said. “They know what it takes to win. I can’t say they have an edge. They believe in themselves that they can win and we got respect for each other. At the end of the day, there’s a lot of respect there. The team who wants to win more will win this series.
“Collin gets buckets and they to have play against our big man Boka. Esso have a deep bench, they can switch all five players out and still be elite. All of their guys can play and they know their roles. You have guys that came back from school in Shaad and Deandre Simpson playing alongside guys like Kevin Maxwell and Rashaad Powery-Saunds. They have so many weapons.
“It doesn’t matter who is on the court, all of our guys have to give effort. Rotando Thompson and Jerome have to hustle and grind it out. Everyone on the court can do something and pull their weight. Everyone has their part.”
Powery-Saunds, 20, is a Blazers big man in his second season. The role player has had a quiet postseason with his biggest showing being eight points and four rebounds in game one of the Esso-George Town series.
The West Bay native states the finals so far show Dominos are not to be underestimated.
“It shows you can’t take no team lightly, it looks like they have been working just as hard as us,” Powery-Saunds said. “Both teams have very versatile players, it’s a good match-up and it will be hard for whoever wins. We can’t be overconfident saying we will win, we just got to try our best.
“Now it’s about who wants it more. We got to play physical, we got to prepare and train, make sure everyone is together and on the same page. Facing them again can hurt and help. On one hand, we know what to expect and we can improve. On the other hand, they can be watching video, what they did last year they might not do this year.
“They are an older team and have a lot of experience with Collin, Boka and Rotando. They know what works for them.”
Dominos will be working to force a Game Three in the best-of-three series, which would take place next Sunday, 16 June.
Djordjic, who is from Serbia, said the key to a Warriors victory this Sunday is rebounding and defence.
“Anybody can make a difference in each team,” Djordjic said. “It’s all team effort, every single possession and loose balls will count. Obviously, we will have to pay better attention on rebounding and covering their 3-point shooters, better then we have in previous games.
“As long as we play 100 per cent and give everything we have, both teams can walk out off the court with their heads held up high.”